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Hornswoggled (Alafair Tucker Mysteries) Hardcover – September 30, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Set in the prairie town of Boynton, Okla., in the spring of 1913, Casey's nostalgic, folksy second novel to feature Alafair Tucker (after 2005's The Old Buzzard Had It Coming) finds the full-time mother of 11 and part-time sleuth worried about one of her grown daughters, Alice. Alice is sweet on barber Walter Kelley, an attractive widower whom the determined and discerning Alafair mistrusts; Walter is just too popular with the ladies. Since Alice is set on having Walter, Alafair seeks distraction by investigating the unsolved murder of Louise Kelley, Walter's late wife, whose stabbed body surfaced in a creek bordering the Tucker farm eight months earlier. Dialogue rich with Midwestern speech patterns and a consistent, unobtrusive narrative voice lift this smalltown historical, which should particularly appeal to Margaret Maron fans. An appendix of down-home recipes is a bonus. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–The author evokes Oklahoma of almost a hundred years ago and peoples it with wonderfully diverse characters with intertwined relationships. Alafair Gunn Tucker, mother of 10 and amateur sleuth, is concerned that one of her daughters is falling for a recently widowed barber who may have killed his wife. Partly in an effort to protect Alice, Alafair pursues the clues left behind by the killer (or victim), and the mystery she unravels seems to tie half of the town to the murder. There are moments of farce and elements of danger. Readers can almost smell the scent of death on the bloodstained rug and taste the homemade butter and potato patties (recipes included). The book provides an entertaining way for teens to appreciate the richness of life in this time and place. The idioms and local color are delightful, and the characters are real enough for readers to fear for their safety.–Will Marston, Berkeley Public Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Series: Alafair Tucker Mysteries
  • Hardcover: 242 pages
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press; First Edition edition (September 30, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590583094
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590583098
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,004,506 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Donis Casey is the author of five Alafair Tucker Mysteries, The Old Buzzard Had It Coming, Hornswoggled, The Drop Edge of Yonder, The Sky Took Him, and Crying Blood (Feb. 2011). She has twice won the Arizona Book Award for her series, and been a finalist for the Willa Award and the Oklahoma Book Award. Her first novel, The Old Buzzard Had It Coming, was named an Oklahoma Centennial Book.

While researching her own genealogy, she discovered so many ripping tales of settlers, soldiers, cowboys and Indians, murder, dastardly deeds, and general mayhem that she said to herself, "Donis, you have enough material here for ten books." The resulting historical mystery series, set in Oklahoma in the booming 1910s, features the sleuthing mother of ten children.

Donis is a former teacher, academic librarian, and entrepreneur. She was born and raised in Tulse, Oklahoma, and now lives in Tempe, AZ, with her husband, poet Donald Koozer.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Randy Edmond on November 2, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is a truly wonderful book! In fact, it is one of the best books I've read so far this year, and I read a lot of books. Like the first Alafair Tucker mystery, THE OLD BUZZARD HAD IT COMING, HORNSWOGGLED is set in the small town of Boynton, Oklahoma, a few years after Oklahoma achieved statehood in 1907. This book has all the essential ingredients that every good novel should have: well developed characters, a great setting, and a gripping plot. It also has a lot of heart. Reading it was like visiting family that you love and have missed. And while the ending isn't one that a loving parent like Alafair would have wanted for her daughter Alice, it is certainly realistic given Alice's independence. I'm glad the author didn't sugarcoat it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on September 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
In 1913 Boynton, Oklahoma mother of eleven Alafair Tucker finds she is very concerned about Alice, one of her adult children. Alice wants barber widower Walter Kelley, a handsome man whom the woman adore. Alafair mistrusts the man because she believes he would not remain faithful to one woman as he seems to enjoy the female adulation.

However Alice refuses to change her mind insisting that the love of a good woman, her, will keep Walter from straying. To keep her mind off of Alice's obsession, Alafair investigates the cold case homicide of Walter's wife, Louise. Her body was found floating in a creek near the Tucker farm eight months ago.

HORNSWOGGLED is a fabulous early twentieth century Oklahoma historical amateur sleuth story that grips the audience from the start with its insight into time and place. The dialect used by the Tucker brood and their neighbors augments the strength of the plot by adding depth to the cast and the feel for the era. The whodunit investigation is fun, but the tale is more a period piece than a mystery as the investigation augments the period and locale. Fans will appreciate going down home to an Oklahoma less than a decade as a state escorted by delightful tour guide Alafair Tucker.

Harriet Klausner
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sires on April 8, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
This is the first book by Casey I have read but it stands on its own. I was also incredibly struck by how authentic it felt. The details of life in 1913 Ozarks reminded me of the way my grandparents lived when I was a kid. From picking Poke sallet to learning to sew on a treadle sewing machine, it was a nostalgia fest. Also I rarely care for mysteries with recipes or whatnot in them, but I thought these added to an understanding about what life was like. From a sugar tit (for quieting a teething baby) to potato cakes I was reminded why I cleared out of there as soon as I could.

Although the plot is somewhat farcical I thoroughly enjoyed the Tuckers and their friends, family and neighbors. The opening with the discovery of the murder was chilling and set the tone. The family dynamics were believable.

Decidedly recommended if you like regional novels (not just mysteries).
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Karl on September 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
for giving us this great book. From the moment you open to the first page it feels like walking through the door of Alafair Tucker's home, (main character), and into her life. The way this book is written makes you feel like part of the family. This book is so well crafted, descriptions seamlessly a part of the story. I love being absorbed into a tale and Donis Casey has a wonderful way of bringing the readers imagination to every page, allowing your senses to bring this mystery to life. I am in awe of someone who has this ability. I sure hope Ms. Casey is busy working on another book. This is an author I hope is around for a long, long time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Susan L. Anderson on March 21, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have read book #1 and now Hornswoggled which is book #2 in this cozy series. I read these on the recommendation of a mutual friend here in AZ. These are cozies, in my opinion, so gentle and nice. The information on the life in Oklahoma in 1912 & 1913 was interesting and does a lot for the story. I go for mystery/thrillers and non-fiction, but I also recommend this book and this series for rather gentle and nice reads that take us back to a earlier time. I purchased both of these books for my Kindle via Amazon.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The year was 1913. The place, an Oklahoma farming community. Fifteen-year-old George Washington Tucker, known as Gee Dub, was trying to fight off the gnats and mosquitoes as he fishes along the overgrown banks of Cane Creek.

Gee Dub usually loved fishing, but between the bugs, the hot July weather, and having to keep an eye out for his eleven-year-old brother, Charlie, it wasn't as pleasant as he'd like it to be. To make matters worse, Charlie the boy and his ever present companion, Charlie-dog insisted on swimming in the creek. With all the noise and splashing, Gee Dub knew the fish he hoped to eat for dinner were miles down the creek by then.

Charlie was oblivious to his brother's irritation and was enjoying using a low hung limb as a rope to jump from. Gee Dub pulled on his line, ready to give up when he heard a loud snap followed by a splash. He looked in Charlie's direction, but Charlie was no where to be seen. The big yellow dog was barking and jumping about on the bank, but all Gee Dub could see in the water was the cottonwood branch floating away from him.

Gee Dub ran to the spot and jumped into the creek. Try as he might he couldn't locate Charlie. He called frantically and heard Charlie call back to him from under the cottonwood roots tangled along the bank. Gee Dub was so relieved he forgot to be angry, but his relief was short lived when Charlie gasped, "Gee Dub, there's somebody dead down there."

At first Gee Dub didn't believe Charlie, but once the boy climbed out of the water he became adamant that there was a woman tangled among the cottonwood roots. Gee Dub agreed to take a look. He dove into the creek, under the cottonwood roots.
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